The Philharmonia Orchestra has appointed two internationally acclaimed conductors, Jakub Hrůša and Santtu-Matias Rouvali, as Principal Guest Conductors. With these appointments, under the leadership of Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor Esa-Pekka Salonen, the Orchestra broadens its artistic team. The post of Principal Guest Conductor was last held by Sir Charles Mackerras, until his death in 2010.

Hrůša and Rouvali take up their roles at the beginning of the 2017/18 Season. Both artists will conduct several concerts a year – and contribute to the programming for the Orchestra’s major series – in the Philharmonia’s London Season at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, as well as in concerts across the Orchestra’s UK programme and internationally.

Jakub Hrůša (35), hailed in a recent Arts Desk profile as “a leading light among the younger generation of conductors”, has been a regular guest conductor with the Orchestra since his debut in 2011. With a wide-ranging repertoire, the music of Central Europe has been a strong feature of his programmes, including a revelatory performance of Suk’s Asrael Symphony in 2014. Jakub Hrůša said: “The Philharmonia Orchestra is one of my absolutely favourite musical ensembles worldwide. Every single concert we have experienced together since my debut in 2011 has been special in all aspects – the programming, the atmosphere and, most of all, the quality of the music-making. I feel truly honoured that I can become a member of this remarkable artistic institution under the inspiring leadership of Esa-Pekka Salonen. To become Principal Guest Conductor and to be in regular touch with the Philharmonia Orchestra’s musicians, and the whole team around, as well as with its public, is definitely one of my dreams come true.”

Santtu-Matias Rouvali (31) has conducted the Philharmonia in concerts across its UK residencies. In his debut with the Philharmonia at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall in January 2016, Rouvali conducted the Second Symphony of his Finnish compatriot, Sibelius, alongside Rolf Martinsson’s Trumpet Concerto, with Håkan Hardenberger as soloist. “He is the real thing: music unmistakably flows from him,” wrote The Sunday Times.

Santtu-Matias Rouvali said: “The Philharmonia is a perfectly-shaped orchestra. Its players can pick up any music, are always prepared and technically very skilful. There are so few orchestras around the world who can get close to that. Now I can conduct them: what more could I wish for? To be in London with Esa-Pekka Salonen as Principal Conductor is something I can’t wait for. He is a very rich-minded artist, with lots of ideas, and I want to be a part of that. I am looking forward to many future adventures with the Philharmonia.”

Esa-Pekka Salonen, Principal Conductor & Artistic Advisor of the Philharmonia Orchestra, said: "I’m extremely proud to ‘share' the Philharmonia with Jakub and Santtu-Matias. To have two young guys in top form leading and developing the orchestra with me is an ideal situation; the conductor as a solitary leader and final artistic word has never appealed to me. The Philharmonia has a spectacular present and an even more exciting future, and I’m thrilled to have consistent artistic leadership in place.”

Helen Sprott, Managing Director of the Philharmonia Orchestra, commented: “This is a special moment for the Philharmonia. Following Esa-Pekka Salonen’s contract extension as Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor, we are delighted to be announcing two of the brightest talents on the international scene – Jakub and Santtu-Matias – as Principal Guest Conductors, and thus completing a formidable artistic team at the Philharmonia. Exciting times lie ahead.”

Philharmonia Chair and 2nd Horn Kira Doherty said: “Jakub and Santtu-Matias are two of the most dynamic conductors to stand on the podium in front of the Philharmonia Orchestra in recent years. Both are musicians of outstanding integrity and character, and each will bring their unique perspective to programming and performances. We cannot wait to start working with them in their new roles.”

Jakub Hrůša and Santtu-Matias Rouvali both conduct the Philharmonia at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall in April 2017. On Thursday 6 April, Hrůša conducts Dvořák Symphony No. 8 and the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with Sergey Khachatryan.

Rouvali conducts a sold-out Sunday matinee on Sunday 23 April at 3pm. Following a pre-concert talk in which he speaks to the Philharmonia’s Principal Trumpet, Alistair Mackie, Rouvali conducts The Planets and Elgar’s Cello Concerto, with Alban Gerhardt the soloist.

Looking ahead to 2017/18, Rouvali conducts Ravel’s arrangement of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition on 5 October ( Hrůša conducts a work close to his heart: the complete version of Smetana’s Má Vlast in Leicester (7 October) and London (8 October), alongside Dvořák’s Violin Concerto in A minor with soloist Hilary Hahn.


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